Social Trends: Once Again, The Future Ain't What It Used to Be

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

05/02/2006 - The idea that each generation of children will grow up to be better off than the one that preceded it has always been a part of the American dream. But barely a third of adults expect things to work out that way for today's children, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

About half of adults (50%) say that today's children will grow up to be worse off than people are now. A third (34%) say they'll be better off and most of the rest say they aren't sure.

The only major racial or ethnic group which doesn't buy into this pessimistic view of the next generation's future is one that has been much in the news lately - Hispanics. Even though Latino adults are less satisfied than whites and blacks are about the quality of their own lives today, they're more optimistic than both other groups about the future of American children.

The downbeat assessment that much of the country shares about the future of today's children is by no means unprecedented. A dozen years ago people had roughly the same negative view that they have now. But as the economy boomed in the 1990s, America's faith in the future rose with it. By 1999, a majority (55%) believed that children would grow up to be better off than their parents, while just over a third (36%) said they would be worse off.

Read the full report Once Again, The Future Ain't What It Used to Be on the Pew Research Center Web site.

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